Monday, November 19, 2007

Classic Pick:-->The Raconteurs - "Broken Boy Soldiers" (2006)

"When you're with me there's a light and I can see my way.
When you speak to me it's a song and I know what to say."
The Raconteurs
That rapscallion guitar whiz, Jack White (The White Stripes) has been keeping his hands very busy the last few years.

Jack’s over here. Jack’s over there. Jack's making a movie. Jack’s touring with his band, the White Stripes. Jack’s doing the talk show circuit. Jack’s working with Loretta Lynn.

getting into fights. Jack’s splitting coconuts with Renee Zellweger. Jack’s hanging with The Simpsons. Jack's comparing notes with Pete Townshend. (Feel free to continue the list).

So, to suggest Jack White has been stretching himself...“Nicole-thin”...would be a slight understatement.

And then...when I learned he was recording an album last year with some buddies under the guise, The Raconteurs, well...I have to admit...I was not expecting all that much.

In fact, after the initial media blitz and buzz, and an "Album Of The Year Award" from MOJO (among other awards)...the album dropped faster than a ball and biscuit. And I soon forgot about the whole mess.

Anyway...I did get around to picking up a copy of the 2006..."Broken Boy Soldiers" by The Raconteurs...and keeping an open mind gave the disc a spin. Dang it...if Jack White didn't capture lightning in a bottle again!

A "raconteur" is a person who tells entertaining stories and... these "Raconteurs" not disappoint. The songs are easier to get in to than an old worn gray pair of sweatpants...and listeners will have a field day counting the numerous musical influences.

Opening with a “time to grow up” message, White sings, “Your friends have shown a kink in the single life / You've had too much to think, now you need a wife.” (“Steady As She Goes“). The harmonizing through-out are aces and the catchphrase “Steady as..” is hard to shake.

The attention-grabbing “Hands” is filled with thunderclap guitar and vocals and is easy to imagine the Beatles sounding much the same had they stayed together. The Raconteurs are having a blast paying homage to their influences.

The title track...“Broken Boy Soldier” has Led Zeppelin stamped all over it with White wailing, ala Robert Plant, and repeating “I'm child and man and child again / The boy never gets older.”

“You want every morning to be just like the stories that you read but never write / You gotta learn to live and live and learn / You gotta learn to give and wait your turn.”
(“Together“) is a nice ballad with band mate, Brendan Benson singing lead with White echoing lyrics back.

For those who enjoy White’s tasty string spankings, “Store Bought Bones” provides a biting whip of guitar trade-offs with neither one wanting to be shown up and both declaring, “You can't buy what you can't find what you can't buy.”

“Can we just go our own separate ways? / 'Cos I'm cold and wet and I’m willing to bet / That you constructed this maze.”
(“Call It A Day“) is a good laugh with the rest of The Raconteurs harmonizing to White’s last words.

The last track is the Zeppelinesque... "Blue Veins" and is one of the best songs from Jack White and will easily be a crowd favorite. His powerful vocal performance equals anything done with the White Stripes.

The Raconteurs performing "Blue Vein" in Holland.
WoW! Chills!!

All of the songs on this CD are a blast to hear. Ten good songs, to be sure, but at $13 for 35 minutes of music begs for an explanation.

"Broken Boy Soldier" will spend plenty of time blasting out of your's that good. But deciding whether to pick up the CD...or purchase each mp3 song individually...may be your hardest button to button.

Good stuff!


The Raconteurs:-->"Hands" (Broken Boy Soldiers) (2006) (Must Own)


Jim said...

Great post! I found The Raconteurs last year after seeing a concert of theirs on TV. If you didn't know it was Jack White, you would never guess it, just because they are so different than White Stripes, at least to me. But the do rock in that old school way.

Casey said...

Info...I agree...Jack White just sounds like a member of the group. Having fun...without dominating the sound. Good stuff!